This Woman

This woman, who is my mother, was born in 1931.  She began working when she was 8 years old picking beans on a local farm.  At the age of 15, she quit school to work in the fields full time in order to support her family.  She married at the age of 17 and went on to give birth to 8 children.

This woman, my mother, along with my father raised the children in the most modest of means.  They only had one car.  To make ends meet, my father worked during the day and my mother worked as a waitress at night.  This woman didn’t sleep many hours each night because she would arrive at home around 3 am and have to be up at 6 am to prepare lunches and get children off to school.

This woman lived in a rural setting.  The food store was 4 and a half miles away.  She gathered her small children and they walked to the grocery store because she could only afford a taxi one way.  That is how the groceries made their way into our home.

This woman’s life was very hard but she was always a devoted wife and mother.  She was our plumber, painter, window washer, landscaper, fixer-upper, maid and cook all rolled into one.

This woman had to stretch the budget so she became very creative in the kitchen.  When there wasn’t enough money to buy meat she would create a fanciful dish out of mashed potatoes and vegetables.  She placed the mashed potatoes in the center of the plate.  She then placed a piece of toast cut into four triangles into the potatoes to create sections.  In each section was a different vegetable.  She dipped the tops of the toast into red beet juice to make it look pretty.  She made homemade bread, starting with the flour and water and yeast, she kneaded the dough out on our kitchen table.  She punched the dough and rolled it and got a full workout while doing so.  Then the dough would rise for about an hour and she would continue the kneading process two more times.  After the third rise of the dough, she would knead it out, form it into the baking pan and put it in the oven.  The aura of fresh bread could be detected as we rounded the corner on our way home from school.  Using the same method of rising dough, she also made homemade pizza using seven cookie sheets.  There weren’t any leftovers.

This woman continued to raise her children who were still living at home through the heartache of losing my father when he was only 48 years old.  She was 45 at the time.  Still, a young woman left on her own to continue the life that she and my father had created.

This woman is now 87 years old.  She is full of life even though her body moves just a tad bit slower.  She still creates beautiful gardens that she lovingly tends to each day.  If she is not gardening, she is inside the house crocheting beautifully handmade afghans.  Her mind is complete and sharp as a tack.  Her sense of humor and ability to not get offended makes her the best of company.

Mom's afghan

Mom the gardener

This woman, my mother, is my best friend.  I admire her strength and courage to move forward no matter how hard her life became.  She’s tiny now, white-haired and looking fragile.  But looks can be deceiving.  She’s got the spirit of a 17-year-old girl and the strength of a lion.

 

Influential Friend

Gentle breezes softly kissing my cheek

My hair flowing across my face

Turning my head to allow my vision to become clear

The breath of her whisper filling me with reckless abandon

Her capacity to satisfy a longing in my soul

Invisible to the eye

Perceived only by the development of movement around us

She flows freely in and out of the moment

Cannot be caught or contained

Refreshing, authoritative, and, influential all at the same time

She comforts me with her placidity

She frightens me with her calamitous power

Yet, she gives me wings to fly

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day to Me

Watching the little child play is heartwarming.  This time around, I am allowing a child to be a child for as long as he wants. That was my mindset back in those days. The first-born child wasn’t given that luxury.  I was young and rigid and only knew what I knew as a new parent.  I expected so much out of him.  I loved him more than life itself but I placed responsibility on him that far exceeded what a child should have to do.

The second-born child lived free and easy.  He still had responsibilities, but more appropriate for his age.  I was in a better place too, in my life.  Happier than I had been when the first-born came along.  A bad marriage can do that to a person.

A second marriage came along when my second-born child was three.  We had a new family and happier times.  We had more of a family atmosphere.  We did things as a family and it was so refreshing to realize a new life with new possibilities.

Along came my third child.  This child was more challenging than the first two.  Very strong-willed, smart and stubborn.  This one was also given responsibilities but she would decide, at her discretion, whether she would comply or not.  Whatever mood hit her at the time.

All three children were very different from each other.  It only makes sense.  I was a different person each time I gave birth.  There was 5 years difference between each of them.  Three children born and raised together with three very different personalities.

Today, they are all grown and each has moved in their own direction.  The first-born has a wife and four children.  He’s a very quiet and contemplative person. They live in the neighborhood that he grew up in.  It makes my heart smile to know that there was something special about his childhood that he wanted to stay in the same place and raise his children there.  The second-born has a wife and two children.  His path has been a bit more complicated.  After serving our country for many years, he now lives in the southern part of the United States.  He’s got such a great sense of humor and although he doesn’t live close by, he holds onto family traditions very dearly. He wants things to be the same for his kids as they were for him as a child. My third child is recently married and currently serving our country in the armed forces.  She is the most independent of the three.  She moved south also.  She built a life of her own, on her own terms and is set on a path of determination to reach a career goal within the time frame she planned very carefully.  As independent as she is, she likes to create traditional holidays.  She likes to make all the traditional foods that she grew up with.

I am very proud of my three children.  All so different and yet in some ways, very much the same.  All three cling to family traditions more than I thought they would.  All three are friends now that they are adults.  That is something I wasn’t sure would come to fruition but it’s true.  I love all three with every fiber of my being.

Raising children is not for the faint of heart because they don’t stay children.  They become pre-adolescent and behave in more difficult ways to handle.  Then, they become teenagers, which is not my favorite life stage at all.  Those days are stress riddled with all kinds of grown-up situations, yet still children in adult bodies.  Finally, adulthood where they strike out on their own and make their mark in the world.  Sometimes, their mark isn’t easy for a mother to watch.  They all have their own bumps and rollercoasters to deal with in their lives.  But, as a mother,  I’m still riding those rollercoasters with them even though they are not my lessons to learn.  We are tied together forever and every situation in my children’s lives will always affect me.  That’s just how mothers are.

I am thankful to have become a mother.  Throughout struggles, trials, tribulations, celebrations, graduations, grandchildren and everything in between, I have grown because of my children.  I thank each and every one of you for the gifts that you are in my life.

Hide and Seek

Tired body. Tired mind.

What makes these changes happen?

New season, new beginnings

Where did inspiration run and hide?

Drowning in exhaustive, soul-sucking flutterings of the mind.

No specific logic brings me to this berth.

My distaste for these spells cannot be construed in plausible terms.

I must ride the waves and calmly await the arrival of the moment I seek.

The moment where hidden mysteries of my body and brain become receptive to the musings of creativity and joy.

I sit here underneath the brightly blooming tree and listen for her wisdom and guidance to appear.  She has the answers that I seek and the vitality that I crave.

I know the enthusiasm will return. It will revive my soul as soon as I play hide and seek.

If one seeks, one will find.

 

Timing is Everything

 

 

Timing is a funny thing.  There’s bad timing which creates chaos and good timing which creates opportunities.  Then there is the perfect timing which can easily change the outcome of a situation from disastrous to excellent.

I’ve always taught my kids that if they are with the wrong crowd they can be guilty by association.  When friends make bad choices and you find yourself at the wrong place at the wrong time, you may end up dealing with consequences that weren’t yours to own.  I remember a young teenager who got into a schoolyard fight.  The fight began between two other kids and this teenager didn’t need to get involved.  But, he chose to take the fight to another level and turned the whole thing into a drastic mess.  He chose to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and then he chose to become a part of something that was way bigger than he was.  The fight between the first two kids was over but he created and escalated a new fight.  The victim was seriously hurt and the teenager found himself in jail.

I gave a gift certificate to a young woman for Christmas.  It was for a ceramics studio.  I thought it would be fun to do something together.  After Christmas, we finally went to the studio to enjoy the day and make our ceramics.  We had so much fun that day.  I was trying to decide what piece I wanted to paint, I have a hard time making up my mind, so the young woman was very patient and helped me.  She is very knowledgeable with ceramics and she patiently guided me through the process of picking paint colors and explained to me how the colors must be laid down in a certain order to achieve the correct result.  As we sat and painted, we were conversing with the owner of the establishment.  She took notice of the knowledge and patience that the young woman had given me.  After many hours of painting, the owner came over and handed the young woman an application for employment.  At that time, the young woman was having some struggles at her place of employment.  This opportunity showed itself to her at the right time.  The young woman was open to a new adventure and so she was hired to do a job in a field that she loves.  Surely, this is an example of very good timing.

A woman I know recently had to have surgery.  Everything was in place.  The date was set on the calendar, the pre-testing was finished and the surgery was set to occur.  The night before the surgery, her doctor called her and stated that he was reviewing her pre-testing results and he was not comfortable doing the surgery because there was a greater risk than they had first thought.  He didn’t want to jump into the surgery without further investigation.  The woman went through some additional testing and she and the doctor came up with a new game plan.  Although very serious, the surgery was done in a more non-invasive way, which led to quicker healing time.  Other unplanned things occurred in this process and led to a life-saving intervention. My friend was definitely at the right place at the right time for this situation to happen.  If she had been anywhere else when the complication occurred, she would have died.   If the doctor had not initially reviewed her case, the risk to my friend would have been catastrophic.  All of these steps placed this woman at the right place at the right time.  She had faith and everything turned out better than if she had planned it herself.  Sometimes we don’t know what’s in our best interest and things change suddenly and unexpectedly.  For my friend, this gave her a new lease on life.

When plans change suddenly, it’s best to go with the flow and see where the path takes us.  Timing is everything.

Moonglow

I stepped outside last night and there was a radiant glow settling upon my grass.  I had a feeling of peace settle over me.  As I looked around, my eyes glanced above me and saw a luminous ball of energy hanging in the sky.  As the glimmer of light showered over my face, I felt the endowment of strength fill my soul from the influential entity in the empyerean wilderness.

Nokomis shares her love and strength from above, illuminating my very soul.  Grandmother Moon was smiling down upon me with affection.  With the capability to change the tides and influence the earth’s gravitation, she chose me to shine her majesty upon.  I look up to her and feel the brilliance and intensity of her love.

I am aware of everything around me in these precious few moments that I sat with her.  She illuminates the path before me both physically and spiritually.  I will bask in her ceaseless glow and recharge my soul.  I find myself blessed to have been given this illustrious gift from the Holy Spirit.

Tree of Life

I look at the tree.  The trunk is so thick.  Thick with years of experience.  Eyes that see history in the making.  Eyes that see everthing.  I touch her and try to hear her lessons.  I feel for her heartbeat but I can’t feel anything.  It doesn’t matter, there is treasure in her soul.  She is the wisdom of the ages.  Life flows through her branches even as she slumbers through the cold.  She awakens with glorious new life. Ah, but there was always life in her.  We just didn’t see it.  The grandmother tree shares whispers of life that have passed before her.  I hug her and feel her strength.  Her energy envelops me and gives me hope.